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What is nephrotic syndrome?

A:

Quick Answer

Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney condition that causes the body to excrete too much protein in an individual's urine, according to Mayo Clinic. It is usually caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys that are responsible for filtering excess water and waste from the body.

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Full Answer

Swelling is the most common symptom associated with nephrotic syndrome, according to MedlinePlus. The swelling can occur around the face and eyes, in the arms and legs, and around the belly. Other symptoms include having a poor appetite, unintentional weight gain and urine taking on a foamy appearance.

Treatment usually consists of trying to find and cure the underlying cause of nephrotic syndrome. A major goal of any such treatment plan is to prevent complications and delay kidney damage for as long as possible, according to MedlinePlus.

Typical treatments for nephrotic syndrome include medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which reduce an individual's blood pressure and the amount of protein in the urine, according to Mayo Clinic. Water pills can also be used to help control swelling, and blood thinners can help lower the risk of an individual developing blood clots. Immune-suppressing medicine, such as corticosteroids, may also help lower the swelling of the kidneys associated with nephrotic syndrome.

Some doctors may also try prescribing cholesterol-controlling medications such as Lipitor, Crestor and Pravachol, according to Mayo Clinic. However, as of 2015, it is unclear whether or not such medicines actually improve the prognosis of patients with nephrotic syndrome.

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